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Bebop Spoken There

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Postage

16434 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 314 of them this year alone and, so far, 26 this month (May 9).

From This Moment On ...

May

Sat 18: Jam session @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:00-9:00pm. Free. Celebrating ‘10 years of the Jazz Jam!’. House trio: Alan Law, Paul Grainger, Tim Johnston. A Late Shows event.
Sat 18: SH#RP Collective @ Holy Name Parish Church Hall, Jesmond, Newcastle. 7:00-9:00pm. Tickets: £15.00. Bar available, BYO snacks. A Jesmond Community Festival event. All proceeds to Kabuyanda Charity (Ugandan health care).
Sat 18: Red Kites Jazz @ Staithes Café, Autumn Drive, Gateshead. 7:30pm.
Sat 18: Alligator Gumbo @ The Witham, Barnard Castle. 7:30pm.
Sat 18: Rockin’ Turner Brothers @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Sun 18: Papa G’s Amigos special summer Latin set @ The Schooner, Gateshead NE8 3AF. 9:00pm. Free.
Sat 18: Late Night Special with Ruth Lambert & special guests @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 10:00pm-midnight. £5.00. (booking essential). Lambert & surprise jam session guests from down the years.

Sun 19: BTS Trombone Day @ Mark Hillery Arts Centre, Collingwood College, Durham University DH1 3LT. 11:00am-5:00pm. Free to British Trombone Society members (£10.00. & £5.00. to non-members). Recitals, workshops and mass blows.
Sun 19: Women Play Jazz! workshop @ The Globe, Newcastle. 1:30pm. £25.00. Tutor: Andrea Vicari. Enquiries: learning@jazz.coop.
Sun 19: Ransom Van @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 7:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Sun 19: Tweed River Jazz Band @ Barrels Ale House, Berwick. 7:00pm. Free.
Sun 19: Andrea Vicari Trio @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Mon 20: Harmony Brass @ the Crescent Club, Cullercoats. 1:00pm. Free.
Mon 20: Michael Young Trio @ The Engine Room, Sunderland. 6:00-8:00pm. Free. Opus de Funk: Horace Silver.
Mon 20: Joe Steels-Ben Lawrence Quartet @ The Black Bull, Blaydon. 8:00pm. £8.00.

Tue 21: Jam session @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free. House trio: Alan Law, Paul Grainger, John Bradford.

Wed 22: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 22: Alice Grace Vocal Masterclass @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 6:00pm. Free.
Wed 22: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 22: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.
Wed 22: Daniel Erdmann’s Thérapie de Couple @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 8:00pm.

Thu 23: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 23: Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Gateshead Central Library, Gateshead. 2:30pm.
Thu 23: Castillo Nuevo Trio @ Revoluçion de Cuba, Newcastle. 5:30pm. Free.
Thu 23: Immortal Onion + Rivkala @ Cobalt Studios, Newcastle. 7:00pm.
Thu 23: The Doris Day Story @ Phoenix Theatre, Blyth. 7:30pm.
Thu 23: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guests: Jeremy McMurray (keys); Dan Johnson (tenor sax); Donna Hewitt (alto sax); Bill Watson (trumpet); Adrian Beadnell (bass).

Fri 24: Hot Club du Nord @ The Gala, Durham. 1:00pm. £8.00. SOLD OUT!
Fri 24: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 24: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 24: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 24: Swannek + support @ Hoochie Coochie, Newcastle. Time TBC.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

A Jazz Christmas Carol @ Ushaw College. Dec 17

(Review by Russell/Photos courtesy of Ken Drew).
County Durham’s jazz fans turned out en masse for this stellar occasion at Ushaw. The ‘never miss’ were joined by the ‘rarely miss’ and ‘others’ swelled audience numbers to such an extent that the majority of seats in the imposing Exhibition Hall were occupied shortly before the eight o’clock start. Alan Barnes’ A Jazz Christmas Carol attracted an audience of hardcore fans, musicians (‘night off’ entered in the diary months ago), and, no doubt, enthusiasts of Charles Dickens.
The Alan Barnes’ All Star Octet was just that – ‘all-star’. Last week’s announcement of this year’s British Jazz Awards (poll winners and the top five) couldn’t have been more opportune. Barnes himself won best clarinet, Mark Nightingale top trombone and Clark Tracey, drums. The other five members of the Octet – Karen Sharp and Robert Fowler, reeds, Bruce Adams, trumpet, Dave Newton, piano and Simon Thorpe, bass – placed in the top five in their respective categories.

Barnes played the part, attired in Victorian night clothes, looking a right old Dickensian! Brandishing a candlestick holder, bandleader Barnes extinguished the flame, the reading would now commence. Spectacles perched, our Dickensian read passages, stopping from time to time as a thought occurred, sharing an idea, an observation, unfailingly hilarious. The jazz? Ah! Music of such quality, the nonchalance of it all masked their mastery. The band members laughed along, whether they were hearing the joke for the first time or the umpteenth. The audience loved it, some scarcely suppressing a giggle in anticipation of a one-liner. Barnes’ long-time sparring partner Bruce Adams, himself a wit, chose to hold his counsel, steadfastly refusing to rise to the bait – Barnes describing a Dickensian feast of turkeys, hams, suckling pigs, and more, looked along the line at the ‘portly’ trumpeter (A Barnes’ description) asking: Has anyone been to lunch at Bruce’s house?

The jazz was superb. The Ghost of Jacob Marley (along with the Ghosts of Christmas, Past, Present and Yet to Come) the musical/literary device linking sections, featuring members of the band/cast. The Start of It heard a three clarinet frontline intro of Barnes, Karen Sharp (later cast as an unlikely Bah Humbug on baritone) and  Robert Fowler. To the left of Barnes stood Sharp and Fowler, then Adams and trombone master Mark Nightingale. Taking the opportunity to extol the talents of one of the world’s great trombone players, Barnes looked at Dave Newton seated to his right and wondered out loud why he wasted his time tinkering at the piano! Hoots of laughter, cue Mark Nightingale, one of the great trombone players.

Picking up the bass clarinet Barnes said: I don’t know what this is, but earlier I caught Dave Newton smoking it. I confiscated it and found I could get a tune out of it!  And how!
The frontline played acoustically. The cavernous Exhibition Hall, with its ornate vaulted roof, posed no problems in projecting the sound. The purring rhythm section (the bearded professorial looking Newton, the smiling bassist Simon Thorpe and the lugubrious award-winning Clark Tracey, drums) offered a master class of its own. And so, we came to The End of It. Barnes closed the book, spectacles to one side, the band went out swinging on  God Bless Us Everyone.

Dickens done, Barnes’ All Star Octet left us with a few Christmas tunes (Bah Humbug!). The Christmas Song, the rhythm section boys soloing by way of introduction on Winter Wonderland and a sprinkling of Blue Monk on Santa Claus is Coming to Town. A five-star entertainment, Merry (Bah Humbug!) Christmas!                                        
Russell.
Alan Barnes (alto sax, clarinet, bass clarinet), Karen Sharp (tenor sax, baritone sax, clarinet), Robert Fowler (tenor sax, baritone sax, clarinet), Bruce Adams (trumpet), Mark Nightingale (trombone), Dave Newton (piano), Simon Thorpe (double bass) & Clark Tracey (drums)

1 comment :

Hugh said...

Summed up artfully, Russell - a great gig; the album is a cracker too AND there is still time for Santa to deliver it to your Christmas stocking! Available for a miserly sum of £10 here: http://www.woodvillerecords.com/A-Jazz-Christmas-Carol.htm

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